SPRING MENU PICKS AT CAFE ROUGE

after my introduction to cafe rouge last year, i swore i'd be back. and i have, a few times now, because i find they're one of those chains that are consistently great; the food is always cooked to perfection, the staff are always more than happy to be there, and the drinks? ahhh, the tasty, fruity, bubbly drinks are always, always the exact thing you need after a long day. so, the offer of checking out the new spring menu was a no brainer, as was the decision of which restaurant to check out, because there's one i'd been wanting to check for ages now: the one overlooking saint paul's cathedral.



my god, the view is incredible. i jumped on the central line from work - which is always a mistake, but the walk from the station made up for that without a doubt. saint paul's is a babe, isn't it? walking around it in the sunshine is probably one of my favourite past times, so to have that beautiful cathedral looming over us while we perused the menu was literal heaven. bonus points for a clear spring sky and a late sunset, because that view lingered a good many hours while we enjoyed our meal. so far, so good.


sharing cocktail

the spring menu was born from a jaunt around france, seeking out the newest and tastiest ways to innovate certain staples. think red wine, garlic, and cheeses, but in totally different ways. with middle eastern influence throughout the menu and a new range of seasonal cocktails, there were loads of new things to choose from. the first big decision: which sharing cocktail to sample first? answer: the gin st. clements, with beefeater gin, cointreau, fresh orange juice and tonic water. deeeeelish!

sharing platter

for a starter we went for one of the new additions, the charcuterier et fromage. with pork rillettes coming all the way from a small family-run business in lille, the carefully curated selection of french produce really kicked off our meal by setting the bar really, really high. dry cured jambon, beech wood smoked duck, rosette de lyon cured saucisson, and a brittany camembert baked with raisin chutney came served with fresh and crusty white baguette pieces, and though it might sound like a lot, we didn't waste any time devouring it.




main course

the last few times i've been to cafe rouge, i've been tempted by the steak frittes. i don't really even eat that much red meat, but it's kind of a rule of mine - that if there's steak on the menu as a specialty, you order it. this time though, i wanted to try something different. there are a number of new dishes on the menu this spring, but, i had to go for an old favourite: boeuf bourguignon. the slow cooked beef drowning in a red wine sauce was cooked to perfection, and the addition of smoked bacon, mushrooms, roasted carrots and a herby mash really gave the meal a really provincial and hearty feel. and, i'm not too proud to admit that i couldn't even finish the whole thing. we might be blaming the starter for that one though.

lucy went for one of the new dishes, bless her. she ordered the crepe au four - a baked crepe filled with portobello muchrooms, spinach, shallots, garlic, emmental cheese and a mornay and c├ępe sauce, with a side salad. and frittes. because you must also always have frittes. she didn't finish hers either, but please don't think that has anything to do with the quality of the food, just the quantity. how anyone eats three courses these days i'll never know, because.. i just cannot.



dessert

it didn't stop us trying, obviously. ah humanity, how you have forsaken us! i went for the salted caramel parfait, while lucy opted for a fan favourite: chocolate torte. which i can't find on the website, and i'm pretty sure it wasn't the fondant aux chocolats, because hers didn't have a raspberry fondant ice cream. god, i was so tipsy on french wine and frencher cocktails at that point, it could literally have been anything, my memory is that bad. whatever the case, her chocolate slice and my frozen caramel cream (served with fresh raspberries and a fricken malted pecan crumb - omgggad) were the icing on an already-calorie-ridden cake. pun intended.

two hours later and we were more ball-shaped than before, and in desperate need of a nap. in my case, the slight jog to the bus was highly unwanted but incredibly necessary, because being horizontal was my main priority. the food, as always, was delicious. the service, as always, was top notch. the company, as always, a delight to be around. so, much thanks to the wonderful team at cafe rouge st. paul's for looking after us and ensuring we had everything we needed. i will 100% be back there - nothing is going to keep me away from that view.

*yup - our meals were complimentary, but i swear down: the food is amazing. find your local here.

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